After two years and just 45 receptions, Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry has requested a trade. The 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft, Harry caught just 12 passes as a rookie. Last season, Harry caught 33 of 57 targets for 309 yards and two touchdowns for New England, which faltered to its first losing season in two decades.
Harry's agent, Jamal Tooson, said that he has been communicating with the Patriots about a trade for his client for the past several months. But with the start of training camp starting up later this month, Tooson has formally requested a trade for Harry.
"Through two seasons, [Harry] has 86 targets, which obviously hasn't met the expectations the Patriots and N'Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college," Tooson said, via NFL Network's Mike Garofolo. "Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it's time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N'Keal moves on before the start of training camp. ... N'Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it."
While he has yet to put up big numbers in the NFL, Harry was a highly productive receiver in college. In three years at Arizona State, the 6-foot-4 wideout caught 213 passes for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging 13.6 yards per catch. But as a rookie in New England, Harry's aforementioned injury, along with the Patriots' deep receiving corps, significantly hindered his opportunities. His numbers were slightly better with Cam Newton serving as the Patriots' quarterback in 2020. Harry set career highs with eight catches (on 12 targets) for 72 yards in New England's Week 2 loss to Seattle. He caught his third career touchdown in New England's road loss to Kansas City two weeks later. And after an injury sidelined him for two games, Harry caught at least one pass in six of the Patriots' final seven games.
Harry had been facing an uphill battle in 2021 after the Patriots signed veterans Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor in free agency. And while his numbers will not warrant a high draft pick, the Patriots will likely have suitors as it relates to a trade. Among the teams that could use some help at receiver are the Chiefs, Colts, Ravens, Eagles, Seahawks and Rams, just to name a few. But it would appear unlikely that the Patriots would trade Harry to another AFC team, unless Bill Belichick receives an offer he can't refuse for his former first-round pick.